Graphic Designer TN Visa Approved - Prior Denial

Prior History:

We initially represented the TN Applicant when she first applied for a TN. After two approvals with our assistance, the Applicant handled her TN applications on her own for the next six years.

Despite the eight previous TN approvals as a Graphic Designer, the Pearson PFI refused to issue a TN to the Applicant this year contending that the Applicant did not possess the educational credentials for the Graphic Designer TN category. We disagreed with Pearson’s decision and prepared a revised application with an attorney brief and additional supporting documentation to present at the Buffalo port-of-entry. Our attorney brief provided the following points.

Our Argument:

The Applicant possessed an Economics degree and Art History minor, along with substantial Graphic Design coursework, and ten years of industry experience (including the last eight years under TN status as a Graphic Designer). These credentials amply qualified her for a TN as a Graphic Designer based on legacy INS memoranda and U.S. Department of Labor materials.

Supporting Materials:

The legacy INS Memorandum by Michael Cronin on the adjudication of NAFTA applications states that the Hotel Manager is the only TN category that requires a specific degree under NAFTA. No other TN category requires a specific degree. According to Mr. Cronin’s memo, all that is required is that “[t]he degree should be in the field or in a closely related field. Officers should use good judgment in determining whether a degree in an allied field may be appropriate.” Cronin Memo 2000.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) does not limit the qualifications for a Graphic Designer solely to the possession of a degree in graphic design. According to the OOH, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, “[b]achelor’s degree programs in fine arts” would also be suitable for a Graphic Designer position. Additionally, designers who have obtained “a liberal arts education that includes courses in art history, writing, psychology, sociology, foreign languages and cultural studies, marketing, and business” work effectively in this field. The OOH also states that “[g]raphic designers with a broad liberal arts education and experience in marketing and business management will be best suited for positions developing communication strategies.” Last, the OOH states that “[i]ndividuals who wish to pursue a career in graphic design—and who already possess a bachelor’s degree in another field—can complete a 2-year or 3-year program in graphic design to learn the technical requirements.” Graphic Designer, OOH. Furthermore, industry materials stated that the “majority of graphic designers have a four-year degree, usually in product design, art, or art history.”


In light of these supporting materials, we contended that the Applicant qualified for TN status as a Graphic Designer based on her Art History minor, the Graphic Design coursework she completed, and her significant industry experience. The Buffalo port-of-entry concurred and issued the TN.